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Define Neolithic And Paleolithic Essays

The Differences Between The Paleolithic Era And Neolithic Revolution

The Divergence Between the Paleolithic Age and the Neolithic Revolution

Marina Lundstrom

History 114 - Western Civilization & The World I

Due: September 25, 2014

In c. 2,500,000 the earliest prehistoric period in human history known as the Paleolithic Age began. This period consisted of three epochs, Lower, Middle, and Upper Paleolithic that were divided in terms of the fluctuation of climate temperatures. The Neolithic Revolution followed shortly after the last ice age, and at the end of the Upper Paleolithic, around 10,000 B.C.E. Similar to the Paleolithic Age, the Neolithic Revolution is divided into three periods by pottery phases; Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), and Pottery Neolithic (PN). Both terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were derived from Greek, which translate to "Old Stone Age" and "New Stone Age," respectively. These derivations characterize the creation of primitive stone tools from the "Old Stone Age" to the advanced use of them in the "New Stone Age". Although the handling of these tools was vital in the daily lives of these ancient people, the development of them was not the chief difference between both periods. The primary changes were focused on the evolution of these ancient peoples' nutrition, living situations, occupations, and gender roles.

The average society, or band of Paleolithic hominoids depended on searching for sustenance on foot. Hunting animals such as bears, rabbits, and deer was a necessity to obtain meat and animal hide to make clothing. Without the use of primitive technology, it would have been difficult for these humans to survive. Knapped stone weapons were a crucial part of hunting wild animals and more spherical, rough textured lumps of stone "may have served as crude missiles of self-defense hurled against predators…"1 A selection of stone tools, depicted in a photograph taken by J. Oster in Secrets of the Ice Age: The World of the Cave Artists, used during the Middle to Upper Paleolithic era seemed to vary from size, grain, and shape depending on the technique our ancient predecessors used.2 Most of the flint ground tools shown have a sharp, spade-like form and look suitably compact enough for a Paleolithic hunter to arm. Judging by their bulbous core, the blunt stone artifacts in the photograph are noticeably heavier, and appear to be used as secondary or defense weapons.[1: 1. Evan Hadingham, Secrets of the Ice Age: The World of the Cave Artists (New York: Walker and Company, 1979), 31. 2. J. Oster, "Paleolithic Tools," in Secrets of the Ice Age: The World of the Cave Artists, by Evan Hadingham (New...

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From Hunters to Farmers: A Revolution in Human History

Domesticationis the process of increasing human control over the breeding of wild plants and animals in order to select for traits that make them more useful for human needs, such as food, transportation, or other animal products, such as wool, hides, or dairy products. This selective breeding process results in genetic changes in the plants and animals so that they become recognizably different species from their wild ancestors.

Since the earliest appearance of modern humans more than 150,000 years ago during the Pleistocene (Ice Age), people had always relied on hunting herds of wild animals, fishing, and gathering wild plants to feed themselves. This required humans to organize themselves in small-scale nomadic groups, migrating across the landscape to follow their prey, and to collect a variety of widely scattered wild plant species. All human groups during the Paleolithic (“Old Stone”) period during the Ice Age were nomadic hunters and gatherers.

However, with the major climate changes that marked the end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene (or modern) Age, a major cultural change took place as well – the shift from the Paleolithic period to the Epipaleolithic (“end of the Old Stone Age” – also known as the “Mesolithic”), about 10,000-8300 BCE, and then the Neolithic Period (or “New Stone” Age), about 8300-6000 BCE.

During the Epipaleolithic period, people in the Middle East first began to settle down in village communities of sedentary hunters and gatherers. Approximately 8300 BCE, these communities began to domesticate those key plants and animals that they had previously been hunting and gathering: wheat, barley, chickpeas, sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs. The economic and social impact of these developments was so great that we refer to this new way of life based on the combination of sedentism and the domestication of plants and animals as the Neolithic Revolution.

With the domestication of the key food plants and animals in the Middle East (about 10,000 years ago during the early Holocene age), people were able to live in large settled communities with a reliable, predictable, and abundant food supply that was able to support the development of cities, craft specialization, social stratification, temple priesthoods, and kingship – the complex of connected institutions that we call “civilization”. In short, the consequences of the Neolithic revolution were enormous – affecting nearly every major aspect of human environment, economy, and culture. For that reason alone, we need to understand how and why the ancient peoples of the Middle East first settled down in village communities and domesticated plants and animals. Our best understanding is that a combination of environmental, demographic, and cultural factors played key roles in the origins of food production.

 The “Neolithic Revolution”